Slate Mailers and The Political Reform Act of 1974
Unfortunately slate mailers are made to look like they are from a political group that you may support, but they are just paid-for advertisements. Slate mailer organizations are for-profit businesses that spend millions of dollars during elections to encourage people to vote for certain candidates and ballot measures. An ( * ) asterisk by a candidate, or measure, shows they paid to be on the mailer. I’m pretty sure Barack Obama did not authorize to be placed in the same political slate on the mailer I received. (See attached.)
The Political Reform Act of 1974 (Proposition 9) unfortunately does not regulate the truth or accuracy of these mailers or in other campaign-related materials. However, there are requirements for reporting payments and expenditures. Mailers are required to list an address no smaller than 6-point type, which is very small. They are not required to list their FPPC number. If someone does file a complaint, it will be well after the election before you will have a resolution to the complaint. Too little, too late.
The more full-color mailers you see for a candidate, or measure, usually just means more special interest money. They are just advertisements and the best possible outcome for these mailers is for them to be recycled.
You got mail! “Election Digest”
I received a slate mailer from the "Coalition For Literacy" called "Election Digest." It says it's a newsletter and has a lovely photo of a child reading a book. Since there is no FPPC number I cross-compared campaign filings on the two candidates with * asterisks and one of the measures. (Here's the campaign filing link if you want to research others.)
- “Maria Alegria for BART Board” gave $1940 October 4, 2012
- “Studdiford for School Board 2012” gave $2070 Oct. 19, 2012 to "Election Digest G 2012"
- “Coalition Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition” # 1344135 (Mandatory Food Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food – Oppose) gave $28,125 October 25, 2012
Yesterday the El Cerrito Patch reported on a deceptive mailer from Covina. There happens to be large slate mailer organization in Covina called "Citizens for Good Government" FPPC# 599010. I checked and found contributions from some of the *s on its campaign filing reports.
Follow the Money or First I look at the Purse
The Political Reform Act of 1974 -- § 81002. (a) Receipts and expenditures in election campaigns should be fully and truthfully disclosed in order that the voters may be fully informed and improper practices may be inhibited.
The intent of the Political Reform Act was to keep public officials honest by disclosing their financial contributors. So, we are supposed to know all about these financial backers, how much money is involved and any conflict of interest issues. It’s not easy. Final campaign disclosures won’t come out until well after the election, some filings aren’t posted and some PACs don’t file properly. I won’t go into anonymous donors giving to PACs who give to other PACs (AKA: money laundering).
Well, being a mom and involved in my kids schools, I’ve followed the school board campaign finance. I love my children’s schools and their teachers. Though the district leadership concerns me. How come we pay the highest amount for bonds on our property taxes and our students are failing in the standardized testing? 44.2 percent of students in WCCUSD are proficient in English and Language Arts and 38.1 percent are proficient in Math. How come on July 2nd when so many parents spoke during public comment they wanted another parcel tax on the November Ballot, not a construction bond, that the WCCUSD put another construction bond on the November ballot?
The tax rate on bonds in West Contra Costa USD is $232.20 per $100K of assessed value, the average in our county is $78.74 per $100K. Here is a comparison: http://met3000.cowens.net/posts/school-bond-taxation-by-school-district/
If you haven’t done so you really should look at the past and the current school board campaign donations. School board candidates and measures are filed with the County: http://220.127.116.11/.
The County has not posted the last filings from October 20, 2012. PDFs are here: http://met3000.cowens.net/posts/final-pre-election-campaign-finance-disclosures/.
In the first filing for current school board candidates: Randal Enos received $1,164, Todd Groves received $7,281, Antonio Medrano $4,202, and Robert Studdiford received $50,340. Mr. Studdiford’s main contributors are from interests involved with construction bond, and he received the bulk of these contributions while he was the chair of the school bond oversight committee. http://met3000.cowens.net/posts/follow-the-money-day-candidates/
How impartial will our school board members be when they are voting on a contract for the bond management company and one specific company has given $20,000 to this candidate. At some point all five of our current school board members have received campaign contributions from the bond management company. Will they hire who will do the best for our students or be overly influenced by who supported their campaigns?
I’m tired of all the money in politics and politicians putting other interests ahead of the voters. I’m supporting Randy Enos, a former school teacher, and Todd Groves, an educational advocate who’s all around good guy. I personally feel they will put education as their priority. You decide for yourself who you think is best for our schools.
My hope is that we can someday find more common ground and we vote on the issues and not be persuaded by all the political propoganda. The Political Reform Act needs more reform.
Relief is almost here from the onslaught of political ads, well, until the next election.
WCCUSD school board candidates
Linda Ruiz-Lozito is a parent in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
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